Flooring information, we supply most manufacturers carpet, vinyl, underlay,
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Flooring products - information / Advice




We supply products from the following manufacturers at incredible prices, please contact us with your requirements
We deliver up to a distance of around 100 miles from Blackpool
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'Cloud 9 underlays - Cumulus / Cirrus / Nimbus
Mercado's Carpets
Wilkies Carpets
Ulster Carpets
Ryalux
A&A Carpets
William Lomas
Westex
Mayfair
Bond Worth
Woodward Grosvenor
Axminster Carpets of Devon
Goodacre Carpets of Kendal
Cormar Carpets

WE DEAL WITH MANY OTHER MANUFACTURERS
AND SUPPLIERS, PLEASE CONTACT US WITH
YOUR REQUIREMENTS !



What do you want from a carpet ?
No magic solution
Basics of style and type

Wool twist pile carpets
Wool twist pile (about pile weights - worth reading !)
Synthetic, Man-made twist pile carpets
Saxony, Luxury,thick piled plain carpet
Velvet pile carpets
Woven axminster carpets
Woven wilton carpets
Natural pile carpets (loop)
Bedroom carpets
Bathroom carpets (waffle / water resistant)
Kitchen carpets (loop)
Flotex carpet

Vinyl floorcoverings (lino)
Laminate Flooring information

Backings - Quality of backings, what to watch out for
Backings - hessian
Backings - built-in felt backings
Backings - Woven backings, Axminster and Wilton
Backings - Gel back for kitchens
Backings - waffle back for bathrooms

About carpet widths, including common width for each carpet type
Pattern matching (which match, which don't and why)
discount on floorcoverings, how it works
Why free fitting isnt free
Stain removal - some instructions
About cleaning carpets using bleach
Fitting, quality of, and what to watch out for
Underlay, qualities, why's it important ?
Stain Treatments (post manufacture / post installation)
Wires (fitting under carpets)
Furniture (preperation before carpet installation)
Lifting customers old carpets (and disposal)
Doors which catch on newly fitted carpets
Shading characteristics, temporary vacuum and footmarks
Problems - pile reversal (permanent water-marking effects
Dirt / Shoes / Doormats
Vacuuming
Why you should try to avoid cleaning carpets



WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM A CARPET ?


One of the very first things to consider when thinking of buying a new carpet is the pile height and density of the carpet. It’s also important to decide what type of effect you will want from the finished job. Would you be looking for the thickest most impressive feel underfoot, or want the ultimate in long lasting practicality, maybe just the cheapest, best value option. Below we will give genuine advice, based on our own personal experiences. There is no magic solution, and even with limitless funds it would be impossible to buy a product that will perform perfectly in all situations. Each type of carpet in production today has it’s own characteristics, and must be compared to all other types before you make your final decision. There have been many advances in carpet manufacture over the last few years, and I would be keen to stress that you should arrive at your local carpet retailer with an open mind as there are still outdated beliefs about the performance of certain styles and fibres. Ask advice from your local expert carpet retailer. Long established independent retailers will usually give honest impartial help and advice.

NO MAGIC SOLUTION


When you read the sections below, you will notice that there are advantages and disadvantages to all carpets, if there was a perfect type, or a perfect fibre, it would already have killed off the rest, it is certainly the case at this time, that certain styles of carpet are suited better to certain situations, and it is in giving you this honest advice, that we can hope you make the correct choice for your own situation, knowing the pro’s and con’s.

BASICS OF STYLE AND TYPE


We’ll cover the choices between natural or man-made fibres in the sections below, first it’s a good idea to decide on the general style of carpet, based on the type of result you would like.

ABOUT WIDTHS


Different carpets tend to be made in different widths, usually for a reason. All styles of budget carpet (except bathroom) feature 4 metre as their width, whilst some man-made twist pile carpets are available in what’s called multi-width, this is usually a choice of 1,2,3, or 4 metre, as well as some in 5 metre, with the remainder of course being 4 metres only. In all carpets, it is the slightly better qualities that tend to offer the extra choice in widths. At this time wool twists are offered in 4 metre and 5 metre, with some companies such as Ryalux carpets offering a service where they will cut any width in 1cm increments up to a maximum width of 5 metre. Bathroom carpets are always 2 metre wide, as this suits most of the areas, and many kitchen specific carpets give an option of 3 metre or 4 metre, with 2 metre being a width offered by Flotex and 5 metre kitchen material is rare but possible. Bedroom carpets feature plenty 4 metre, with the odd popular range also offered in 3 metre. Choosing a width that suits your area is obviously important, but always bear in mind that some standard width 4 metre carpets can represent slightly better value, sometimes you may even make a saving, particularly if your carpet retailer stocks the material, in which case, it would likely be the standard 4 metre roll width. Axminster standard width is 12ft, usually with 3ft as an option, occasionally 12ft with 15ft as an option, some companies offer 3ft, 6ft, 9ft, 12ft, 15ft, in all of their ranges. Wiltons are available only in 4 metre widths.

PATTERN MATCHING ON SEAMS


Always ask at your carpet store about pattern matching, it is not an exact science these days, and the modern materials are increasing harder to successfully match. Currently the only type of carpet that can guarantee a perfect match width to width is the Axminster, it’s method of production is so accurate that the match is always possible, ‘cut pile prints’ ie, Hessian baked patterned carpets (usually modern small patterns) are harder to match, because the design is printed on rather than woven, it can make the pattern run out over distance. Small seems are usually successful, but on larger seams it’s sometimes a problem. Wiltons are a little awkward too even though they are woven like axminsters, the carpets do not generally have the pattern match quoted on the back of the sample, the material is usually produced abroad, being sold by distributors in this country. It can be impossible to get information on matching them and often there is not enough of the design showing on the sample itself to be able to measure it, in short, don’t count on a successful match.

BACKINGS (QUALITY OF)


The old foam backing that went to powder is no longer available, there really is no particular backing which is inferior to the others, but beware, there are still inferior backings. When you buy a carpet, you be aware that the backing is just as important as the pile surface, backings have a major affect on the pile of the carpet, if the backing fails, the top of the carpet can wrinkle, or at worst start to fall apart. Poor quality carpets tend to suffer from backing related problems where the backing has become un-glued, a problem which is often impossible to fix, and may only be noticed when the warranty period of the carpet is up

BACKINGS – HESSIAN (SECONDARY)


The most common type of backing used today is the secondary back, there are various trade names for different versions using different materials, they can be different colours or textures, they have collectively become known as Hessian back.

BACKINGS - FELT BACK


Felt back or soft back is a relatively new backing, in fact it is the one that replaced foam, it does not appear to have any disadvantages and in many cases carpet manufacturers have dropped the Hessian option and now only offer felt. It is not a sign of a cheap carpet, and is used by some of the best manufacturers for backing on top quality material. Felt backing has another trick up it’s sleeve too, it can be fitted on top of an underlay, or can go straight down onto a bare floor. Believe it or not, there are a few vinyls which are starting to feature a thin felt backing too !

BACKINGS - WOVEN (AXMINSTER / WILTON)


Both axminster and wiltons are woven carpets, this means that the backing and the pile are manufactured at the same time, rather than other types of backing where pile and backing are manufactured separately and then glued or fixed together afterwards. The axminster and Wilton backings are very durable provided they are sealed with latex along the edges where they have been cut. Be sure that your fitters are competent and that they perform this sealing operation. Failure to latex the edges could see them fraying away in the future especially in areas where they are fitted into doorplates

GEL BACK


This is a backing used on kitchen carpets, it is durable and waterproof, there are no real disadvantages with this backing, but do be careful if you need to remove your kitchen carpet and you find that is has been glued around the edges, as in some cases the pile surface can be pulled through the backing casing a bald patch of missing pile when the carpet is layed back.

WAFFLE BACK


This backing is used on 2 metre bathroom carpets, it is a soft waterproof backing, it is usually glued for the first couple of inches around the edges, be very careful if you need to lift this type of carpet after it has been fitted, as just like the kitchen backing, it can be damaged if the pile is pulled through as you lift the backing off the glue, every fitter has done this by accident, me included !

WOOL TWIST PILE CARPETS ( READ ABOUT APPLICATIONS)


Twist pile carpets are amongst the most practical of all carpets. Their short dense pile surface provides superb resistance to crushing by foot traffic and they are certainly one of the best value for money carpets based on their performance. At the time of writing, almost all twist pile carpets are plain, slightly flecked (berber twist) or mottled. The twist pile is one of the only carpets to have become popular in both man-made and natural fibres, both have distinct character, and should be chosen based on your situation. Whilst it is true that the cheapest twist will be a man-made fibre and the most costly be wool, there is no real cross over point and it is easily possible to spend more on a top quality man-made twist than a lesser quality wool carpet. Twist piles are a constructed ‘tufted’ and ‘twisted’ carpet, where during production, fibres are ‘shot’ through a primary backing, and then a secondary backing is glued with latex onto the primary one, thus protecting and securing the tufts. Production costs are kept to a minimum by this ‘tufted’ construction, which is one of the reasons why tufted carpets are so much better value than the woven method that Axminster and Wilton carpets use. In any quality twist carpet this backing bond will be as long lasting as the pile surface although I have personally seen backing problems in some poor quality carpets, literally causing the carpet to fall apart. This is another good reason to always buy a quality product from a well known manufacturer. Both poor quality wool and man-made carpets can suffer from backing problems, and they may not become evident until the carpet has passed the end of it’s warranty period ! – remember, a quality backing is as important as a quality pile surface ! A final note about overall thickness, never compare the thickness of carpet and assume that it is an indication of quality, this is usually not the case, the most practical of all carpets have a short dense pile surface, this is most resistant to wear, and even makes cleaning easier. Any extra spring required should be introduced by using a quality luxury underlay. Please read our section below entitled ‘About Underlay’

WOOL TWIST (PILE WEIGHT)


Don’t go shopping for a wool twist and assume that you can tell all about it’s quality by checking how many Ounce’s it is. You remember owning an average quality wool suit, and then trying on a fine quality one, and you remember how much lighter the fine quality wool was ? – it’s a simple fact that fine wools weigh less. The same is true with carpets, and manufacturers of fine wool carpets tend not to show the pile weights for this reason, as it makes the others seem better. Choose a reputable manufacturer, and check quality by the price, not the weight.

SYNTHETIC, MAN-MADE TWIST PILE CARPETS (READ ABOUT APPLICATIONS)


One of the most popular fibres used in the production of man-made twists is Polypropylene, this man made fibre is NOT nylon, instead this is what most consider to be a step forward in wear and cleanability. The budget man-made twists remain a popular and sensible choice for a tough spot-cleanable practical carpet, suitable for most locations including the kitchen, although care must be taken when selecting for these areas as many (although not all) twists require to have a separate underlay, which is an added cost. The main benefits of man made over wool, is the fact that they are easy to spot clean, infact several manufacturers indicate that their products are bleach cleanable, yes I did say bleach. They recommend a solution diluted with water, but in tests we found polypropylene carpets could be stained using neat blackcurrant cordial, or permanent black ink marker (both allowed to dry for 24 hours) which could be removed easily using neat bleach. One carpet sample was cleaned successfully 14 times in exactly the same spot, after which only the backing showed slight effects cause by the bleach softening the latex in the backing. The pile surface was unaffected bar for a slight fuzzing of the pile, mainly due to use rubbing, if done carefully rubbing would be avoided, needless to say, we were impressed by this test, and use this style of carpet ourselves. Another benefit of polypropylene over wool, is the fact that it is almost completely light fast, and therefore is recommended for areas that get strong sunlight, such as in the conservatory. These fibres are the same colour throughout the fibre, since they are already coloured before the fibre is produced, as different from nylon which starts off white (this is why you must not use bleach on nylon!) – since wool is a natural fibre, and was dyed to produce it’s colour for use in carpet, it is affected by sunlight, and will fade, so is not a good idea in a room with strong sunlight. If there is particular reason why you would like this style of carpet to be fitted into a bathroom, the official answer is that it is not ideal, at the time of writing there are no twist piles which are available with a waterproof backing, so none are truly suitable for the bathroom, but with care, and providing the carpet is not getting wet, it is still a better choice than wool, which can rot and smell if it is subject to too much water or condensation. We have used both man made and wool twists in our own bathrooms, and with care, they have outlasted normal quality bathroom material, although it has to be said, they are most costly too !

SAXONY (LUXURY, THICK PILED PLAIN CARPET)


If you are looking for a ‘show-house’ effect, you may consider a long pile ‘Saxony’, which combined with a thick luxury underlay, will give you the ultimate in soft comfort underfoot. In pursuing this route, you should be prepared for the increased price of the long pile quality Saxony, and of course the underlay. This cosmetic approach does often include the choice of a light colour, which can soil quicker, and you should be aware that the longer a piled carpet is, the more noticeable any flattening effect will be, particularly in your high traffic areas. The bedroom is one area where the Saxony carpet can be a nice choice, as it is usually away from your main entrance door, often upstairs, and is not a high traffic area. It’s worth noting that long soft carpets are rarely produced from wool, as man-made materials are more resilient in this style. Good quality man-made Saxony carpets can easily cost as much as a quality 80/20% wool carpet. The Saxony carpet can be used In almost any room in the house, although it’s not ideal for kitchen or bathroom.

VELVET PILE


There are not too many velvet ranges around now, for some they represent the ultimate in luxury, however many velvets can show shading, which is an effect caused by the movement of pile, be it caused by foot traffic, or by the vacuum cleaner. Shading is not a permanent effect and all piled fabrics (not just carpet) can show shading effects. Velvet piled carpets can also exhibit an effect known as pile reversal. (see our separate sections on shading and pile reversal for more details) Pile reversal is a permanent shading effect for which there can seem no case. The effect shows as a distinct watermarking effect, it often looks like a spillage, but cannot be removed. Details about shading and pile reversal will be printed on the back of most carpet samples.

AXMINSTER


Axminster is not a quality of carpet, the name simply describes it's method of woven construction. It is the traditional british carpet, these can be amongst the highest quality carpets available, they are generally 80%Wool & 20%Nylon (the nylon is added to give extra strength to the pile) and is generally accepted as the best mix. There is one company that produces from 100%Wool, which is Axminster Carpets Limited. This company, situated in Devon, use a very fine blend of wool, and do not use any nylon. Today’s axminster carpets offer a diverse range of patterns, and each company produces both traditional and beautiful modern designs. There is of course no such thing as a man made axminster, read below about Wilton.

WILTON


The Wilton weave is a very tight weave, making for a very fine pile appearance, Wool wiltons died out many years ago, and they are now made from man-made fibres, some are made from the softer man made fibres, intended for comfort rather than out and out cleanability, and some wiltons are made from polypropylene which is currently one of the most cleanable fibres available. Like Axminsters Wiltons are available in traditional designs, but with restricted colours they have their own style. Recent new designs have been much more modern, these have been popular and look set to continue. Wiltons are a little more affordable than the wool axminsters due to the man made fibres making them cheaper to produce. One of the only drawbacks of the wiltons fine finish is the possibility of pile reversal, please read our section on pile reversal, this permanent effect can be noticed most on carpets with a large amount of plain background colour. At the time of writing, Wiltons are limited to the 4 metre width

LOOP PILE NATURAL / BERBER LOOP


This is one of the modern trends in carpet, the ‘natural’ styled loop carpets are generally based around natural shades of oatmeal and cream, and feature a textured looped pile, in designs from plain, to small patterned designs made using the height of the loop to create the design based usually around the single background colour. A mix of fibres are used for the production of these carpets, 100%wool is one of the common ones, but polypropylene and other man-made fibres are popular too, and represent a slightly more cost effective way to achieve a similar look. One big disadvantage of the loop carpet, particularly those with a long loose loops, is that they are easy to damage. Animals and even sharp furniture can cause a loop to break and ‘pull’ like a jumper. Fitters report that the material is not as easy to fit, and due to the textured effect they are not the neatest of carpets when fitted on a staircase or in areas where there are many edges visible. The carpets do not seam as well as other types, and even the most cleanable polypropylene ones can be hard to clean simply because the stain can get inside the loops and be hard to get out. Colours are generally impractical, but the carpets remain popular and very much in fashion for most areas of the home. Backings are generally Hessian (secondary back), or felt back, which gives a softer feel and can be combined with an underlay, or fitted without.

BEDROOM CARPETS


Traditionally bedroom carpets have always been totally plain, and usually feature soft pastel colours. They are a conventional cut pile, and almost all are made from man made fibres They feature softer fibres for comfort rather than using tough cleanable fibres such as polypropylene. They are usually priced a little lower than your average lounge quality, but since these areas are not high traffic, it’s usually fine to use ‘General domestic’ qualities. There is no reason (apart from cost) not to put a wool carpet in a bedroom but in my experience it’s rare that people do this. It’s only man-made carpets that feature the longest softest piles, as these are not as practical when made from wool. Combine a thick underlay with a quality bedroom carpet for maximum underfoot comfort. See the section on Saxony for super luxury in the bedroom.

BATHROOM CARPETS


A few years ago, these were simply derived from bedroom carpets, where the manufacturers would split the width in half, making the 2 metres width, which all bathroom carpet share, and put on a ‘waffle’ rubber waterproof backing. The carpets could not be used with an underlay due to the soft backing, and were fitted directly to the floor, they often shared the ‘general domestic’ quality rating making the bathroom carpet an almost throw-away commodity. Due to the concentrated wear, the carpets did not tend to last more than a few years, but were relatively inexpensive to replace. Customers are free to explore other ways to carpet a bathroom with a longer lasting material such as Flotex, but the standard bathroom carpet can be the cheapest in the long run. At the time of writing, there are becoming fewer bathroom ranges on the market, and there seems to be a move toward vinyl floor coverings.

KITCHEN CARPETS (LOOP PILE)


Kitchen materials are currently mostly very tight loop piles, with a pile surface similar to that of carpet tiles. They are generally made from polypropylene for the ultimate cleanability. Many of the manufacturers indicate that the carpets can be cleaned with bleach, which if used carefully (and tested first on a piece of waste) is an efficient way to remove almost any stain. Mottled or speckled effects on otherwise plain backgrounds describes most of the kitchen material. 4 metres wide is the most common width, with some carpets available 3 and 4 metres, and just a couple at 5 metres wide. True kitchen carpets are relatively inexpensive, and all come with a ‘gel’ plastic waterproof backing which is fitted straight to the floor and cannot utilize an underlay.

FLOTEX


Flotex has it’s own unique designs, and is a supreme practical kitchen carpet which is placed at the higher end of the price range and is only available in 2 metres wide. The width limitation of Flotex can make it an awkward carpet to fit into a large kitchen (although it does seam almost invisibly, ask as your local store) or it can make a perfect long lasting waterproof carpet for your bathroom. It’s unique method of manufacture is patented, it uses clever technology, to make a one of a kind carpet.

VINYL


For many years vinyl (or lino / oilcloth) was rather a boring subject, but recent years have seen some more exciting products on the market. There are modern designs, tiles, stone, metal, there are even kids vinyl’s with jig-saws or road layouts for an ultimate playtime. The laminate flooring industry has prompted vinyl manufacturers to compete too. Now you can buy a superbly realistic matt finish wood grained vinyl which on a level floor will be hard to tell apart from the real thing, infact I’ve been fooled myself once or twice. Vinyl is completely waterproof, and is suitable for those areas where real wood is not recommended, the bathroom and the kitchen have always been the prime locations for vinyl floor coverings. If your area is subject to any amount of water getting onto the floor, it’s a good idea to seal around the edges of the room with silicone, and to consider one of the new ‘anti-slip’ vinyls which feature a grippy surface. When you visit your local store to choose a vinyl, always check the prices of the samples, the thickness of the overall material is not an indication of quality, and although a thick backing can be a bonus, it is just that, a backing, and does not contribute to the wear of the material. The wear surface on most vinyl’s is very thin indeed, and difficult to gauge with the naked eye. Generally, choose a reputable manufacture that you have heard of, pick a firm backing for durability, as soft backings can dint and damage easier, and pick the best quality you can afford. Ensure that your floor is flat and level, as a bumpy floor will ruin the effect and could cause the vinyl to become damaged in use. Timber floors should be plyboarded using 4mm flooring grade ply, don’t use hardboard as this is not as resistant to moisture, and not a good idea for kitchens or bathrooms. If you fit the plyboard yourself, be sure to use ring nails that will not work their way back up, and ensure that each and every nail is perfectly flush, it’s worth checking each nail head with your finger before moving on. Nails should be at 6 inch centers, meaning that in an area of equivalent size to a sheet of A4 paper, there should be about 5 nails. Joints between sheets of boarding should be tight and level, and any filler used should be flexible, or it can crack come loose, causing a real problem, as the vinyl would have to be lifted in order to remove it.

LAMINATE - see our seperate laminate page


ABOUT DISCOUNT


Like most products, you can make a saving if you are able to buy in bulk, usually you could expect reasonable discount if your areas total over 100 square metres (about 120 square yards) as your retailer may be able to purchase a full roll of carpet, thus passing his discount on to you. Usually this is only possible when you are requiring the same carpet throughout most of a house. Unfortunately, splitting the job up with several different colours or styles of carpet means that a full roll could not be utilized and does not attract the same discount, but any good sized job should mean you could expect some discount.

FREE THIS, FREE THAT…..ALL ABOUT FREE STUFF


Something is only really free if you can get it without paying anything…..nip into your local carpet shop and ask for the phone number of their ‘free fitter’ or for a couple of rolls of their ‘free underlay’ and you’ll soon realize you’ve got to spend money before you can get the free stuff. You can mark my words, it’s very unlikely that you’ll get anything of value for nothing, see the section above on ‘Discount’ and bear in mind that, as with most things, you get what you pay for ! – ignore percentage of discounts, and what you’ve been told is free, look only at the bottom line price, that’s all that really matters !

STAIN REMOVAL


Speed is of the essence when it comes to dealing with a stain. For me, two rules exist, both worth remembering about tackling stains. Firstly, NEVER rub, doing this risks damaging the pile surface, creating a fuzzy mess, that will be there forever, even if you do get the stain out. The second rule, is add as little foreign substance to the carpet as possible. It’s not a good idea to head straight for the spray-on carpet foam or cleaner, all of these products, despite their claims, will leave a residue in the pile, which will attract the dirt afterwards. The first thing to do is head to the kitchen, if you’ve spilled food, grab something to scrape up the solids with, also get hold of a cup or small bowl of water (yes, just tepid water), once you’ve carefully removed the solids, add the water. This dilutes the stain, and helps lift it to the surface. Next use clean kitchen tissue, a slightly damp clean dish cloth or pot towel to dab, or press to draw up the stain. Turn the cloth around as you go, or replace with another clean one If required. There’s no harm in wetting the carpet, as long as you don’t add to much water, a couple of cups is fine. You could help by standing on the cloth, as the added pressure will help bring up the stain. Using more clean dry towels you will aim now to draw up the water, to allow the carpet to dry faster. Whenever you are cleaning up a stain, always get to the stain as quick as possible, for any stain, the first couple of minutes are the most crucial, and yet still take your time to do the job thorough, as, once the carpet is wet from the water you’ve put on, you’ll not truly know until it’s dry whether you’ve been successful at removing all of the stain. If when it is dry, the stain is still there, it’s too late, and time to call in the professional, if you didn’t do it the first time, don’t try again, it’s better to pay the professionals than to ruin the carpet. If you’ve read this and you still feel that you’d rather hit it with every carpet foam and spray you could find, then that’s up to you. Test them in an inconspicuous area first to see that they are suitable, and once finished always try to rinse out the cleaning chemicals with plain water, again, don’t rub !

CLEANING WITH BLEACH


Many manufacturers of carpets made from polypropylene make the claim that their carpets are ‘Bleach Cleanable’, this means exactly what it says, you really can clean these with bleach, by this we don’t mean a carpet spray containing bleach, we really mean normal non-perfumed ‘thin’ domestic bleach. My advice is, firstly check that the carpet is polypropylene and not just a basic nylon fibre. Test somewhere out of the way first, or preferable you could practice on a piece of waste if you have any left over from the installation of your carpet. Some manufacturers will recommend a solution of part bleach and part water, so check with them first, with practice, providing you have a suitable carpet, almost any stain including dried blackcurrant, permanent ink marker or red wine can be cleaned off in this way. I have personal experience of cleaning off a curry, spilled from a pyrex dish brought straight from the oven, even boiling curry did not stain my polypropylene twist pile carpet. After the careful cleaning process was complete and it had dried, there was absolutely no sign of the stain at all, and due to the fact that bleach does not contain any sticky residue, the stain does not appear to come back over time due to dust attraction.

ABOUT FITTING


The quality of the fitting is one of the most overlooked aspects when shopping for carpet. Many shops employ fitters which work for themselves, meaning they may work for several other shops and will get paid for the amount of carpet that they fit in a day. Fitters who are employed full time by a single shop, work only for them, and they may be more inclined to spend more time, thus making a better job of the fitting process.

ABOUT UNDERLAY


Underlay is not just there to make the carpet feel soft, it helps to spread the weight of foot traffic and provide a cushioning effect which in turn helps the pile surface to withstand the effects of normal use. Staircases rely on underlay to an even greater degree, and if the underlay should go flat on the nosings of the stairs, accelerated wear will be the result. Any warranty provided by the manufacturers of the carpet is usually void if the carpet is fitted on a used underlay. As a general rule, only the better quality underlays tend to retain their spring and give the ultimate underfoot feel. Poor grades, particularly some cheap rubber waffle (the traditional bobbly ones) can go very flat in 3 to 5 years, certainly after 5 to 8 years most underlays will be past their best, and it would be wise to fit a new underlay with a new carpet after this time. If you decide to check on the quality of your underlay, be sure to check it in the areas where you actually walk, it’s rather pointless feeling the thickness of the underlay in the corner or at the edge of the room, as in these areas it will not have been subject to any use. My personal opinion would be to only re-use an underlay if it is under 2 years old and is a quality underlay, if there is any sign of use at this point, or it’s been down for more than 2 years, I would certainly change for new, as the old underlay would not continue to last for the lifespan of the new carpet. Underlay technology has come a long way in the last few years, with the introduction of flat profile underlays that do not feature the ‘bobbly’ underside, this provides a better support for the carpet and is particularly recommended for staircases where rubber waffle underlays are now thought to be unsuitable. Some of the latest high quality products on the market include the award winning ‘Cloud 9’ range from Ball & Young with their association with British Vita. This range of underlays feature the same quality of product in several thickness, so it can be tailored to different areas of the home and to suit all budgets. Underlays have never made your carpet feel so comfortable, with super thickness products such as the amazing 11mm ‘Cloud 9 – Cumulus’, which is guaranteed to last as long as the carpet that it is used with. The only disadvantage of thick soft underlays, is that they can allow furniture to sink into the carpet, combined with the fact that today’s fashion is for plain carpets, it can mean that dints under heavy furniture can be visible. If this trait would worry you, you could either use one of the thinner products to minimize the problem, or seek a slightly more firm underlay, which Ball & Young can also provide, but obviously this does lose some of the soft feel of the finished result, it’s your choice. Caster cups should be used under sofa legs, or in a case where the legs are hidden, squares of plyboard or solid drinks coasters can be used to help spread the weight and prevent the furniture from sinking into the carpet. Moving furniture on a regular basis helps prevent dints from becoming permanent.

ABOUT STAIN TREATMENTS


Stain treatment such as Scotchguard are used by some manufacturers of wool carpets, simply because it offers some protection to wool carpets as they don’t tend to spot clean quite as easy as man made alternatives. Some manufacturers however do not provide this treatment, and this can even be the case with the top end companies. Scotchguard can always be added after the carpet has been installed but in this case you would have to contact a separate company that specializes in this treatment. As part of the service they may provide some form of warranty for your peace of mind, but you should be aware that the treatment does wear off in time. Man made carpets are rarely treated these days, and some fibres such as polypropylene are an inherently stain resistant fibre, meaning that the actual shape of the fibre when viewed through a microscope is such that it does not easily accept a stain. For these reasons polypropylene does not need a stain treatment and retains it’s stain resisting properties for it's entire lifetime. It’s so tough infact that almost impossible for it to fade, and can even in many cases be cleaned with bleach !

ABOUT WIRES


If you need to place wires under your carpet, they can be fitted on the inside of the gripperods, this means the edge closest to the centre of the room, wires should not go in between the gripper and the skirting as this gap is required for the carpet. Wires should be pinned in place to prevent them from being caught on the sharp pins of the gripperods. If you need to run a wire across an area where you walk, it’s best to cut a thin channel in the underlay, fix the underlay down either side, place the wire into the gap, and tape over. Telephone wires especially will fail if they are under a high traffic area as the wire is simply worn away in a few years. If you need to protect a wire and you don’t have an underlay, it’s safest to put several layers of tape over it before fitting the carpet over it.

ABOUT FURNITURE


At our store, we expect customers to prepare rooms as much as they can, we are happy to move single items of furniture, or items such as display units or 3 piece suites, which can’t easily be removed from the room. If the amount of furniture is such that it would cause the job to take much longer than normal, then a charge must be made for the time and effort involved in moving the furniture in order to install the carpet. The extra charge may cover extra time allowed, or for an extra fitter to help move heavy items. Furniture can cause it to be harder to open up the carpet in the area, to set the carpet squarely, to check for size, and to get good tension on the carpet. It also can present a risk of damage to the furniture itself. It’s always best to try to remove as much furniture from the room as possible.

LIFTING CUSTOMERS OLD CARPETS


This is perhaps not as straightforward as you might expect, it’s becoming harder for shops to dispose of customers old carpets, rubbish tips either charge, or in some cases do not allow vans to enter at all. Don’t be too surprised if your carpet store refuses to dispose of it, and if they do take it, you’re likely already paying for this service in your price. Local councils may offer a collection service for a charge, or you could always have a nice word with the workers who collect your refuse.

DOORS WHICH CATCH ON NEWLY FITTED CARPETS


Since carpet fitters usually only deal with carpets, it’s often the customers responsibility to deal with any cutting of doors required if your door was to catch on the new carpets.

SHADING


Shading is a temporary effect of light and dark patches caused by uneven movement of the pile surface during normal use, this is inherent in all pile fabrics and is not a manufacturing fault. All qualities of carpets may suffer regardless of how they are manufactured and what they are made from, but in general plain colours and long piles can exhibit this trait in a more pronounced fashion. Vacuuming and normal foot traffic are usual causes. Read the back of samples carefully, or read up more about shading on the internet or carpet manufacturers websites.

PILE REVERSAL


Pile reversal is quite an in depth subject, but is essentially a permanent effect of light or dark patches. The marks can resemble a watermarking effect, and it is caused by the pile direction in a particular area which is seen to be facing in a direction other than normal, it is often in the opposite direction. You could call it pile direction reversal. There is currently no known causes for this effect, and cannot be put down to any one single cause. The manufacturing process is said not to be the cause and therefore the problem cannot usually be seen as a fault. In my experience the affect seems to be seen most often on fine pile carpets such as fine axminsters, wilton, and velvet pile carpets. Plain backgrounds seem mostly susceptible, the affect can appear in any part of the room. It is possible for man made and wool carpets to both exibit this effect. Read more about this phenomena on the back of carpet samples, on the internet, or ask at your local carpet store.

DIRT / SHOES / DOORMATS


So, how should you be looking after your carpet ? - I'd start outside the house.....with a good quality outdoor mat, next up, if you have a porch, an indoor mat. Why two mats ? - the outside one should feature tough bristles to remove mud, gravel and dirt from your shoes, and the indoor mat should be a level softer type, which will dry your shoes and provide a second barrier against dirt entering the main house. If you are very keen, and want to be extra kind to your carpets, you could leave your shoes right there in the porch, and get a shoe rack to encourage others to do the same, although many might consider this as step too far !

VACUUMING


Many carpet manufacturers, particulry those that make quality axminsters will reccomend that you vacuum your carpet once a day. Few people are quite this keen, but if you would like to protect your investment, it is certainly worth the effort. Every house has dust and dirt floating around in the atmosphere, this will continually land in the carpet and become lodged against the base of the fibres, as you continue to use the carpet, the dirt acts like an abrasive and literally wears the carpet down. By vacuuming the carpet every day, you will help to prevent the build up of abrasive particles and help to lift the pile, resulting in a cleaner longer lasting carpet. Always use a good quality powerfull vacuum and make sure your machine is serviced regularly so that it will be at it's most effective. Upright cleaners with a beater bar and brush are the best type to use on carpets.

TRY TO AVOID CLEANING CARPETS


Now I'm not going to suggest, as you might expect, to replace your carpets instead of cleaning them, I'm merely going to point out what generally tends to happen when you have your carpets cleaned. Most of the chemicals and techniques used in carpet cleaning tend to leave a residue in the pile after the cleaning process, dispite the modern extraction systems eployed by the professionals, it's hard to remove all of the cleaning product introduced to the carpet. Even in instances, where a technique has been employed that can quarantee a residue free result, simply the extration of dirt can also remove natural oils present in wool carpets. The finished result, although looking far better after the cleaning process, can quickly start to pick up dirt from the atmosphere or go flat due to residues in the pile. A further cleaning after a period can again produce a bright clean looking carpet, but after effects can become more pronounced and in a shorter period of time. This can become a viscious circle, eventually you can end up with a carpet that will just not come clean at all, and is requiring replacement. The moral of the story for me, would be to try to prevent the soiling in the first place, maintain the carpet as best as you can, for as long as you can, never clean a carpet that does not look soiled, only have it cleaned professionaly and as a last resort.






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